News / Asia

Taliban Free Fellow Jailed Terrorists from Pakistani Prison

Policemen collect evidence outside a prison following a Taliban attack in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, July 30, 2013.
Policemen collect evidence outside a prison following a Taliban attack in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, July 30, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Security forces have launched a massive manhunt in a city in the northwestern Pakistani province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where more than 200 prisoners have escaped following an overnight militant assault on a prison.

With Taliban-led violence on the rise, the leader of the province's ruling party has warned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan could lose its anti-terror war unless a national counter-terrorism policy is quickly devised.

Dozens of suspected Taliban fighters armed with bombs and grenades took part in the Monday night raid on the central prison of Dera Ismail Khan, a remote town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Eyewitnesses and residents said the attack began with a powerful explosion, which was followed by smaller blasts that blew up electricity lines into the prison and rattled almost every house in the neighborhood. Twelve people, including four policemen, were killed during the attack, which lasted for several hours, according to officials.

Pakistani troops were quickly sent in to help the civilian administration prevent the attackers and prisoners from escaping to the neighboring restive tribal districts of North and South Waziristan.  A curfew was imposed in Dera Ismail Khan and a search was launched.

Military sources said that “intelligence-led search operations are underway while combat aviation is also deployed for air surveillance” in-and-around Dera Ismail Khan. They said that all roads leading to the militant-dominated neighboring tribal regions have been blocked.

However, as of Tuesday afternoon Pakistani authorities had been able to recapture only 17 of the escapees, including five women. Three “terrorists” were also killed in the encounter. 

Pakistani Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

Military sources said that nearly 500 prisoners were in the facility at the time of the brazen attack and that 248 managed to escape, including up to 20 they described as “hardcore terrorists.”

The sources revealed that intelligence reports were recently made available to local authorities warning an attack on the prison was imminent. However, only around two dozen police personnel were guarding the facility when Monday night’s raid occurred.  

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province has seen a dramatic rise in Taliban-led militant violence in recent months. Imran Khan, the leader of the political party that rules the region, said terrorist attacks like the one on the prison were likely to grow in number unless the central government devised a national counter-extremism policy. 

Speaking to VOA, Khan demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fulfill his commitment to present a national security policy without wasting further time.

“Taliban influence is increasing because radicalization is increasing because extremism is growing and there is no proper policy of dealing with the various forms of terrorism," he said. "Unless there is at a national level a policy is made and then we have something like homeland security [in the U.S.], where all intelligence agencies pool their intelligence and a coherent policy comes across, [with] all stakeholders on board -- unless that happens, we are going to lose this war.”

However, Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal dismissed criticism that Prime Minister Sharif’s administration was not making efforts to confront the militants.

“We are trying to deal with the situation. The prime minister has had consensus with the security agencies. Now we are evolving a consensus with the political parties. Very shortly, Prime Minister [Sharif] will have a meeting of all the political parties. We want to have a national strategy on security, so that we can address this issue with fullest national resolve,” said Iqbal.

Last week, Taliban extremists killed nearly 60 people, mostly Shi'ite Muslims, in two separate bomb attacks in the northwestern Kurrum tribal district. That violence came just days after a commando-style militant gun-and-bomb raid on a regional headquarters of the country’s main spy agency, the ISI, which is directing Pakistan’s war against terrorism.

The attack in the otherwise sleepy southern town of Sukkur killed nine people, including four ISI officers.

Since Pakistan joined the U.S.-led anti-terrorism war 12 years ago, successive governments in Islamabad have come under criticism for not evolving a clear policy to deal with Islamic radicalism. Despite losing thousands of Pakistanis in the anti-militant campaign, critics say that a prolonged debate among political leaders on whether to use outright military force against militant groups or engage them in peace talks to end violence has simply emboldened extremist forces in the country.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hamoun from: Zabol
July 30, 2013 11:19 AM
The sources revealed that intelligence reports were recently made available to local authorities warning an attack on the prison was imminent. However, only around two dozen police personnel were guarding the facility when Monday night’s raid occurred.

Same security force that was searching for Bin Laden. Looks like Pkistn has a real commitment to ending global terrorism...not.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid